This one surprised me. Although I had picked UGA to win decisively, I didn’t see the complete domination of that unfolded in the first quarter. Georgia’s patchwork offensive line manhandled Tech’s defense in the type of straight-forward, smash-mouth exhibition that Kirby Smart wants from his team. The Dawgs held the football for 11:15 of the opening period, tiring Tech’s defense and destroying the Yellow Jacket’s triple-option, keep-the-ball game plan. Tech averaged 2.8 yards rushing for the game to Georgia’s 6.8. The constant scowl on Paul Johnson’s face as he paced the sideline, told the story of the game.
During the misty/rainy Dawg Walk, I mentioned to Bulldawg Illustrated’s Savannah Richardson that I hoped the players were more prepared for the coming game than the fans and then hoped that the lack of enthusiasm from the sparsely attended Dawg Walk was due to a late arriving crowd give the early start and the miserable weather.. As kickoff neared, the stands filled almost to capacity, then the team set about the business at hand – sending Tech back to Atlanta with a demoralizing thrashing and erasing my concerns about the team’s mindset.
Kirby Smart has made it abundantly clear that he hates having to prepare for Paul Johnson’s offense. The uniqueness of the triple-option in today’s game means that nothing (Kirby repeated this term several times during the week when asked about practice carry-over) UGA practices while preparing its other games carries over to help stop Tech. Of course, there is one way to solve the problem of facing the triple-option every year – as Kirby said:
“It is what it is. I don’t love it, but it is what it is – and you get the cards you are dealt and that’s the cards we’re dealt. I mean, if you don’t want to play against it then beat ‘em every year and eventually you won’t have to.”
So, beating Paul Johnson’s teams not only keeps the Governors Cup in Athens but, hopefully, greases the exit from the flats for Johnson and his throw-back offense.